Willcox is off to a fine 3-1 start to the volleyball season through last weekend, but that one loss still stings, said head coach Todd DeBaun.
“I think (the start) is as good as we can possibly do without a gym,” he said.
Willcox’s high school varsity lost a tough 3-2 decision to Tombstone in the middle school gym last Thursday as they struggled with consistency.
“We work in the grass, play in the sand (at Keiller Park), then get a little bit of gym time at the middle school,” he said.
Any struggles due to lack of practice time were masked against weaker opponents, as they swept past Walden Grove and San Simon at home and Douglas on the road to open the season.
But Tombstone (4-0) pounced on inconsistent passing and setting to overcome an early 10-point deficit in the first game Thursday to win the opener. They also captured the second game and a big lead of their own in the third game before the Cowgirls overcame a 9-point deficit to take that game and get back in the match. Willcox evened the match at 2-2 before tiring in the final game to drop their first decision of the season.
“When you get a prolonged match and haven’t had much gym time, it weighs on the kids,” the coach said. “They’ve done as great as job as they can possibly do.”
It may be mid-season before they get their high school gym facility again.
“They have taken care of initial abatement with the mold problem in our gym,” said high school principal Doris Jones. “We’ll know this week how long it will take to replace the 40-feet damaged section. The delay has not been us, it’s been the insurance company. I heard once the repair is scheduled it will take about two weeks, so I hope it’s finished within three weeks of today.”
Meanwhile, the competitive Cowgirls will continue to host home games in the middle school gym, including a match with Valley Union (1-2) on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Alexia Booth has led the squad in blocks and kills and Courtney Purcell leads in service points.
They’ll also go on the road to compete in the 12-team Flowing Wells Invitational on Saturday in Tucson. Sahuarita, Santa Rita and Pusch Ridge will be in their pool in the morning, while Nogales, Palo Verde, Tucson and Amphi will loom as possible opponents in trophy play in the afternoon.
Willcox will also resume power point play Tuesday at little but powerful Pima (4-0).
It is definitely a tougher part of their schedule, but DeBaun said “I expect the kids to play their guts out and win every game they play.”